Do you remember the days when you couldn't wait to be alone with your other half so you could whisper sweet nothings? After years of marriage or a long-term relationship, we don't expect quite the frantic passion of the early days. But when is a dwindling sex life normal, and when could it be a sign of a physical problem in a man?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED as it's now called, is remarkably common. It's estimated to affect as many as 40% of men over 40. It includes everything from not being able to get an erection to not being able to keep one for as long as needed.
The good news is that ED often settles on its own. Stress and anxiety can have a powerful effect, and sometimes just making time for the two of you, away from the rest of the world, is all that's needed. But sometimes nature (and/or your man) needs a little help - and that's where the women come in.
Your man's heart could be at risk
We're not talking here about a broken heart - at least, not the kind in the romantic novels. Many of the risk factors for ED are the same as those for heart attack. High cholesterol or blood pressure and diabetes increase your man's chance of getting both problems and ED can be an early warning sign. So if he hasn't had his heart health checked out, make an appointment with the GP for him!
Hormones - not just a woman's issue
Testosterone is the best known male hormone - it's why men go bald, for a start! But low levels of testosterone can cause problems not only with performance in the bedroom but also with lack of sex drive. It can also cause lack of concentration and depression. It's important for physical health, too, as low levels can affect cholesterol, weak muscles and increase in body fat. Because many of the symptoms are vague, they can be overlooked. If you think your man may have low testosterone, encourage him to talk to his GP about getting a simple blood test to check his levels. It could give him a whole new lease of life.
Dying of embarrassment
In a recent survey, the majority of men said they would feel 'uncomfortable' talking to their GP about problems they are experiencing in the bedroom - they would find it easier to discuss other personal problems like bowel or waterworks issues. They may need a little tactful encouragement.
Body or mind?
Even if a man's performance has faltered for physical reasons, it's highly likely to have an impact on his self-confidence. A single failure may be enough to convince him that he's not a 'real' man any more. This in turn may put him off making the first move in future. He may be so concerned about how his partner or spouse sees him that he fails to see that she, in turn, worries he doesn't find her desirable. Lack of desire can also be a symptom of depression.
It's essential to be gentle with him - but the longer you ignore it, the harder it will be to broach. In a relationship, it's all too easy for both of you to avoid the 'elephant in the room' for fear of offending the one you love. Start by focusing on the good in your relationship; explain that you want to help precisely because you love him; and make sure he knows you're with him all the way.
Treatments for personal performance
There have been many effective treatments developed to treat ED in recent years. Viagra® is perhaps the best known, but there are other medicines in the same 'family' of tablets. If that doesn't do the trick, there are other treatments available. If low testosterone is the cause, regular injections or gel applied to the skin may treat all the symptoms successfully.
With thanks to 'My Weekly' magazine where this article was originally published.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.